England players involved in the now postponed Indian Premier League are set to return home imminently, it has been confirmed.
The competition has been carrying on against the backdrop of a public health emergency which has seen daily infections top 400,000 but, with multiple reports of franchise bubbles being breached by positive cases, the Board of Control for Cricket in India’s governing council unanimously voted to suspend the action indefinitely.
England’s IPL contingent – limited-overs captain Eoin Morgan, Jos Buttler, Moeen Ali, Jonny Bairstow, Jason Roy, Dawid Malan, Sam Billings, Chris Woakes, Chris Jordan, Tom and Sam Curran – have been receiving daily advice and support from the England and Wales Cricket Board, while being reminded that any decision over their participation was an individual one.
The ECB is not understood to be looking at a direct involvement in the repatriation process, such as the charter flights it has arranged for international tours over the winter, but is in dialogue with those who remain in India.
A spokesperson said: “Following this morning’s postponement of the Indian Premier League, we are in close contact with our players and staff in India as arrangements are put in place for them to return home safely.
“The ECB understands the BCCI’s decision to postpone the competition for the safety and wellbeing of those involved, and thanks the BCCI for its commitment to do everything in its powers to arrange for the secure and safe passage of all those taking part in the competition.
“Our thoughts remain with the people of India during these challenging times.”
Mumbai Indians were due to play Sunrisers Hyderabad on Tuesday, in what would have been the 31st match of a scheduled 60, but Sunrisers became the third franchise to reportedly return a positive Covid-19 case among their staff a matter of hours before the planned start.
Two players from the Kolkata Knight Riders and two of the Chennai Super Kings backroom staff also tested positive over the weekend, leading to enforced quarantine and postponed fixtures.
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